Signs that Dublin’s tyres are starting to look a little threadbare have been evident since earlier in the year.

The Dubs are chasing a four in-a-row of All-Ireland titles and they remain an well-oiled machine. They are justifiable favourites to win Sam Maguire again, but the first hints of wear and tear are starting to show.

Even though it's the merest chink of light to the chasing pack, it does offer an extra sliver of hope to the rest of the teams left in the hunt.

Dublin regained the Allianz League Division 1 title to put a stop to the momentum that Galway, who are now possibly their closest challengers, had built coming into the final and in many ways it was business as usual.

They only dropped three points through the springtime campaign, the draw coming away to the Tribesmen, though it was the defeat to Monaghan at Croke Park that first suggested everything wasn’t quite as good as it was.

For the first time under Jim Gavin, a silverware strewn spell in charge that stretches back to before the start of the 2013 season and includes just one Championship defeat, a Dubs side looked under-motivated.

Even though they ended up only losing by a point, the manner of the display suggested a team not to bothered in losing a League game. Every other team may have done it at one stage or another - this was a first for a Gavin vintage outfit.

Dublin's Con O'Callaghan is tracked by Eoghan Bán Gallagher of Donegal

They cantered through Leinster to add a 13th provincial title in 14 seasons and beat Laois by comfortable 18 points in the final. Even that though masked a number of issues.

In the first half of that game Dublin were sloppy, missing a penalty and racking up the wides, and were fortunate to retire to the dressing rooms leading by six.

Once more against Donegal in the first All-Ireland quarter-final Super 8s game at the weekend there were signs of sloppiness - never before a trait associated with a Jim Gavin team.

Many parts of the games functioned as usual and 2-15 against the Ulster champions was only a slight reduction on their scoring return on their prior 2018 Championship games. No goals were conceded and they were able to play keep-ball for the final few minutes on their way to a five-point win.

That was in the credit column. In the debit were the goal chances that were squandered, the balls turned over and the sloppy mistakes.

Dublin selector Jason Sherlock with manager Jim Gavin

"The chances that we had that we didn’t covert is particularly disappointing, particularly as we spend most of our sessions on the skills of the game," said Gavin after the game.

"The next day against Tyrone won’t be good enough. After today they’ve scored 7-44 in two games - we’ll need to be putting up scores at the other ends and that gives us something to reflect upon. It was just about good enough today and it won’t be good enough in Omagh."

Last year Con O’Callaghan scored brilliant goals in the All-Ireland semi-final and final, the youngster displaying a rare hunger to head for the blackspot whenever he got the ball. By contrast on Saturday he looked hesitant.

In the first half he got caught in two minds and neither shot convincingly nor passed inside, either of which would surely have ended in a goal. In the second half he cleverly turned over a short kick-out from Shaun Patton, but, instead of making it pay, he chipped the ball straight back to the Donegal keeper.

Galway crowded Kerry out on Sunday

The Boys in Blue were turned over 15 times, losing the ball in contact nearly twice as often as Donegal. Turnover ball is one of the key metrics in Gaelic football, particularly when they occur in defence.

Support runners weren’t popping up on team mates' shoulders like they were between 2013 and 2017. At one stage former Footballer of the Year Jack McCaffrey burst up the wing, and as he came towards traffic looked around for support. It wasn’t there.

Even though the signs show that Dublin are coming back towards the chasing back, which is inevitable because sporting success can’t be maintained forever, they are still this year’s most likely All-Ireland winners. That would take the total to six in eight seasons, a true Decade of the Dubs.

Kerry seemed like a team primed to take over the title Best Team in the Country, but their disorderly defeat to Galway leaves plenty of questions. The best they look capable of managing now is the runners’ up spot in Group 1 and a semi-final against Dublin.

The Tribesmen are very much a work in progress and it remains to be seen how much progress Tyrone have made since they took a tanking off the Dubs in the last four not 12 months ago.

This all points to four in-a-row. Beyond that though, the future looks less certain.